Letter to the Editor

Stem-cell initiative is misleading

Friday, February 24, 2006

To the editor:

I am sure many of you have received letters or seen or heard advertisements from the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures regarding the Missouri stem-cell research and cures initiative. On the surface, it appears to be a positive effort to find cures and increase biomedical research opportunities in Missouri. What is not said and what is in the fine print reveal something quite different.

This initiative is primarily about embryonic stem-cell research. There is no need to amend our constitution to study and use the results of adult stem-cell research. That work is currently being done. Despite the assurances given, the initiative would ban human reproductive cloning only. It would allow and regulate somatic cell nuclear transfer research (therapeutic cloning). Scientists would be able to create human embryos, perform experiments on them and extract stem cells until the embryos are 14 days old. It would place a misleading definition of human cloning in our constitution that would be difficult to correct.

At this time, no taxpayer funding would be involved. Rest assured these same research institutions and labs would lobby our legislators and use the same arguments to win government funding of embryonic stem-cell research.

Before you sign a petition or vote on this amendment, read the initiative for yourself. Question the petitioner and determine if what is being said is really would be done.